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Diesel Won't Start - Completely Frustrated.

Jul 5, 2011
598
Oday 28 Madison, CT
Battery cable/terminal connections, etc. shorting intermittently from corrosion, possibly not visible?
 
Nov 4, 2018
155
Hunter 28.5 Catawba Island, OH
Just back from the boat.

I decided to check connections starting with the negatives. First, I wanted to remove the ground jumper from the negative bus to the engine. Something about needing an ambulance after doing something stupid - just break the circuit to begin with. I didn't need to go any further. The crimp at the bus had failed. The one and only 4 awg crimp to fail. I had problems with 6 ga crimps through out the whole project and finally began double crimping them.

I'm not going into my trip to West Marine, however, my handy dandy hardware store, two store fronts down, had everything I needed. Sure, it's SAE grade cable, but at least it will keep me going until I go through the box of left over wire, connections, terminals, and what not to determine what I have and what I need to order.

I did inspect the in-line fuse that several of you mentioned. I was quite surprised at the condition it was in. Having said that, I have Blue Seas fuse holder that I will replace it with, but I want to see if a 12 awg to 18 awg step down crimp connector is available.

The good news is that the engine started four times for me and twice with other house loads on bank 1. Bank 2, well that battery is tango uniform. However I have a spare; no big issue there. Jeff from Great Lakes Diesel will becoming out tomorrow. At this point, I think it worth the $150.00/1st hour fee to have new knowledgeable eyes to look over everything I've done and bless me. I could still be looking at problems in the face and never see it. I've been at this project so long that I see what I want to see and not what's there.

I've also come to the conclusion that, yep, should have used an ACR in the charger setup. It will be done sometime this summer.

Thanks to everyone for their suggests, advice ans support.
Alec
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
That's great news, and thanks for the follow-up. Only thing, why a 12 to 18AWG? I think 16AWG is the smallest gauge you should have on a boat according to ABYC, except for instrument wires.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,080
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Good for you Alec.
It is hard to imagine that connectors are the problem. But they are the "Usual Suspects".

First, I wanted to remove the ground jumper from the negative bus to the engine. Something about needing an ambulance after doing something stupid -
I under stand the statement. Not sure I understand the action. You are removing a connection too the "Negative Bus". Does this mean that the positive connection is going to be left connected while you work on the boats circuits?

I have always disconnected the Negative first then I remove the positive connection. Move the wires away from the batteries. Then go to work. I make sure the power is disconnected. I don't want to accidentally make a connection to ground thus completing a circuit and sparking something, especially me.
 
Nov 4, 2018
155
Hunter 28.5 Catawba Island, OH
That's great news, and thanks for the follow-up. Only thing, why a 12 to 18AWG? I think 16AWG is the smallest gauge you should have on a boat according to ABYC, except for instrument wires.
We're talking about a Yanmar wiring harness - ABYC - are you kidding me! I think if you read through the thread you will many references to how undersized it is.

Looking at the wire, its insulated size says 18 awg to me. I have 12 to 14/16 step downs. If it is in fact 18 awg and I can find no step down connectors, it will be a solder job.
 
Last edited:
Nov 4, 2018
155
Hunter 28.5 Catawba Island, OH
I under stand the statement. Not sure I understand the action. You are removing a connection too the "Negative Bus". Does this mean that the positive connection is going to be left connected while you work on the boats circuits?

I have always disconnected the Negative first then I remove the positive connection. Move the wires away from the batteries. Then go to work. I make sure the power is disconnected. I don't want to accidentally make a connection to ground thus completing a circuit and sparking something, especially me.
Same principle as with batteries. Remove the negative and the circuit is broken. Now I can check positive connects and if I accidentally hit the engine with a wrench I'm not becoming part of the circuit. If/when I got around to being close to a battery, That negative would then be removed. It's a matter of convenience of your work space. It's too easy - I know - to hit a wrench against the engine while working with the positives of the starter or alternator.
 
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Jan 11, 2014
7,824
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
@Red_Dog I've found Waytek Wire to be a good source for wire and connectors. Sometimes you end up buying more than you need, however, the cost per unit is way way below West Marine and most of the online marine suppliers. Quality is also good.
 
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jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
We're talking about a Yanmar wiring harness - ABYC - are you kidding me! I think if you read through the thread you will many references to how undersized it is.

Looking at the wire, its insulated size says 18 awg to me. I have 12 to 14/16 step downs. If it is in fact 18 awg and I can find no step down connectors, it will be a solder job.
In a pinch, if you have enough 18 gauge wire to play with, if you strip it longer and fold the stripped portion on itself four times you'll effectively have 12AWG, which you can crimp in a 12 to 12 butt connector.
 
Nov 4, 2018
155
Hunter 28.5 Catawba Island, OH
@Red_Dog I've found Waytek Wire to be a good source for wire and connectors. Sometimes you end up buying more than you need, however, the cost per unit is way way below West Marine and most of the online marine suppliers. Quality is also good.
Dave, took a quick look at a couple of pages after searching for crimp connectors. But, there were so many hits that it will take more than a quick look. I'll check them out later. Thanks for the link though.
Alec
 
Nov 4, 2018
155
Hunter 28.5 Catawba Island, OH
In a pinch, if you have enough 18 gauge wire to play with, if you strip it longer and fold the stripped portion on itself four times you'll effectively have 12AWG, which you can crimp in a 12 to 12 butt connector.
Good point. That would be a simpler solution as I have 12 to 12's coming out my ears.
 
May 25, 2012
3,837
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
was a member of NCYC in lasalle from 62' till last year. live in toledo only summer up north. worked for columbia steamship for 18 seasons. use to load out of marblehead all the time. a long time ago. load coal at sandusky. walk up to the biker bar close to the docks.
oh ,i know lake erie. it's where i learned. sailed out os CIC with friends many times. my friend mr. sullivan put the bow of his ship on south bass. old sullivan steamship lines family out of cleveland.

lake erie sailors rock
 
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May 24, 2004
6,789
CC 30 South Florida
OK, new key switch; since you have no power to the idiot lights or buzzer, go back to the key switch and verify the connections. If everything OK and still no power then you have a problem in the harness or pin connectors. Do not dismiss the possibility that the harness could be fouled by chaffing because the engine started twice as harness problems usually start and run intermittently until they fail completely. It could be a compound problem with the start button wiring and some other failed connector or wiring. 1st restore power to the control panel. Do you have a light in the panel? Just to test for power. After you restore power then yo can tackle the problem of the wiring to solenoid. Time to get the hands dirty, usually the way to provide answers to all the questions.
 
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jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
OK, new key switch; since you have no power to the idiot lights or buzzer, go back to the key switch and verify the connections. If everything OK and still no power then you have a problem in the harness or pin connectors. Do not dismiss the possibility that the harness could be fouled by chaffing because the engine started twice as harness problems usually start and run intermittently until they fail completely. It could be a compound problem with the start button wiring and some other failed connector or wiring. 1st restore power to the control panel. Do you have a light in the panel? Just to test for power. After you restore power then yo can tackle the problem of the wiring to solenoid. Time to get the hands dirty, usually the way to provide answers to all the questions.
He fixed this already, post #42.
 
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jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
I did inspect the in-line fuse that several of you mentioned. I was quite surprised at the condition it was in. Having said that, I have Blue Seas fuse holder that I will replace it with, but I want to see if a 12 awg to 18 awg step down crimp connector is available.
More on this - if you're still watching this thread, and interested.

First, I am personally not a fan of in-line fuse holders. I like to have them all attached to a bulkhead or similar structure, in a multi-fuse holder. If I were to do it fresh, I would use the ATO/ATC blade type fuses. I know it might not be practical to use a fuse block for this case, but an ATO/ATC in-line is available.

For crimp connections, if you have vastly different sizes of wire, like your 12AWG to 18AWG, a good solution is a pigtail crimp connector. You just twist the wires and crimp on this cap. It doesn't lay in a harness as well as a butt connector, but if works. You can get them at Lowes of Home Depot or Ace Hardware, et.al.

 
Dec 1, 1999
2,391
Hunter 28.5 Chesapeake Bay
I had the same boat and same Yanmar 2GM20F. I suggest checking the engine ground wire, which may not be making a solid connection.Don‘t just look at the connection, take if off, clean it, reinstall tightly.
 
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Dec 29, 2008
798
Treworgy 65' Custom Steel Pilothouse Staysail Ketch St. Croix, Virgin Islands
Neutral lockout switch in shift lever? Jiggle it back and forth slowly while you have the key turned, to see if it makes a difference. We wasted $700 having our starter rebuilt about 16 years ago, only to find out that our neutral switch was mid-adjusted.